You love your S.O. — and if you don’t yet, you think you might soon — but that doesn’t mean that you’re constantly feeling totally in tune with them. Since we’re all expected to have jobs, and socialize, and exercise occasionally, and contribute to society in some meaningful way, your first priority can’t always be your relationships. As a result, you can find yourself feeling disconnected from your special someone, and that sense of alienation can leave you in a panic. Does this mean the relationship is over? Is it always going to be like this? Can we ever get back on track? Not necessarily, no, and yes — periods of disconnection aren’t a sign of a doomed partnership. Here are seven specific steps to help reconnect with your partner.

A couple cuddles and laughs in bed

1. Practice empathy. Your feelings of disengagement from your partner may simply be a reflection of the fact that you’re not taking as much time as you should to understand what it’s like to be them. In order to flex your empathy muscles within the relationship, relationship expert and matchmaker Margaux Cassuto recommends asking more questions, practicing more focused listening, and even shadowing your partner through parts of their day when it’s possible.

2. Step away from the phone. If you’re stumped as to why you’re feeling disconnected from bae in the first place, consider that pesky phone of yours. Yes, it’s great for staying in touch with friends and keeping on top of potential problems at the office, but it can also be a major distraction. “Due to increased social media use, partners are often engaging alongside each other — playing with their phones, scrolling — rather than with each other,” observes registered psychologist Rachel Tomlinson. “This creates a lack of presence, and it’s hard to feel a sense of emotional connection when this happens.” Start setting some shared boundaries with your phones. Try out a digital detox for a few hours as a couple, or establish one phone-free night per week.

3. Plan a weekly check-in. Establishing a regular meeting time with your partner might sound like the least romantic solution possible, but trust us — it works! Marriage and family therapist Allison Zamani suggests getting a non-negotiable 15-minute conversation on your shared calendar once a week. “It is common for people in relationships to not talk about things that they feel are minor or that they can just get over, because they don’t want to rock the boat when the relationship is going well,” she says. So this is your moment to bring up anything about the relationship that’s been on your mind. When you get into a good routine with these kinds of conversations, you’ll avoid issues cropping up down the road and ensure that there’s meaningful face time on the agenda no matter how busy life gets.

A couple cooks dinner together

4. Throw a dinner party. “[Hosting] gives you and your partner a chance to work as teammates,” says licensed mental health counselor Lauren Rigney. And the dinner party doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The simple act of collaborating with your S.O. on creating a menu, preparing the food, selecting the perfect playlist, and then working together to pull it off will make you feel more connected, even if means ordering pizza or throwing hot dogs on the grill.

5. Take a class together. “One of the best ways to connect is to take a class together,” encourages author and marriage therapist Caroline Madden. “Learning something together and having that experience of growing together makes couples feel closer.” Plus, you’ll finally have the excuse you’ve been looking for to learn to tango or make sushi!

6. Do something adventurous. Facing fear gets your adrenaline pumping, and when you experience that with a partner, it gives you a great opportunity to bond and to make a unique memory in the process. Relationship coach and co-founder of A Good First Date Rachel Perlstein recommends especially high-adrenaline activities like sky diving or bungee jumping, but you can achieve similar feelings on a smaller scale by going on a local hike, pushing yourself in a new workout, or checking out an especially tall building in your home city.

7. Make time to express needs. In the rush of work and social commitments and our mere mortal need to sleep, it’s all too easy to forget to tell our significant others what we really need from them… and then get frustrated when they don’t deliver. Counselor and relationship expert Tara Vossenkemper suggests that all couples deliberately carve out time solely dedicated to sharing what they need from each other. If nothing else, this is a great moment to tell your partner outright that you’re feeling disconnected from them so you can make a plan together to get back on track before the situation spirals.

How do you reconnect with your significant other? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.